To fit in your clothes, forgo FITTING IN at the dinner table

fitting in for the dinner raceYou LOVE to belong…. this is the reason behind

  • that photo of you with bright pink hair, squished into those hideous leather pants and
  • how you got hooked on that less than healthful nicotine habit

You desperately wanted to FIT IN…..

Our brain’s are wired to FIT IN. And we’re always adjusting our behaviours, in little ways, to do just that, FIT IN.

One place we do FITTING IN is at the dinner table.

Eating in synch is fitting in

Eating at the dinner table is an orchestrated event.

It is more than just bringing everyone together at the same time – a mammoth undertaking in this day and age.

And it is not a matter of everyone following standard eating etiquette – like chewing with your mouth closed and keeping your elbows off the table – there is far more synchronization going on at the dinner table.

The forks are being raised in a subtle rhythm.

Chain reactions at the dinner table

By definition, eating is a social activity – so it makes sense that if two people sit down to eat together, the eating behaviour of person A, will influence person B and visa versa.

Researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen set out to explore these social exchanges.

Seventy female students got to have dinner with a “new” friend in the laboratory, which had been kitted out so that it had the look and feel of a restaurant. Behind the scenes fancy spyware was used to watch every single bite.

The dining companion was “unkown”, so the meal served as an opportunity to get to know a fellow student, while getting a free cooked dinner. Something most students appreciate.

Copy cats are fitting in

Amazingly two “random” strangers instantaneously adapted their eating behaviours, so that their bites were perfectly synchronised. This effect was very dramatic at the start of the meal, but tended to decline a little, as the meal progressed.

FITTING IN….. personified.

BUT, the harmonisation of bites meant both parties ended up eating at the pace of the person who ate fastest.

So the meal is over quicker – so what ?

If the person was not great company, this may be a blessing in disguise, but apart from setting off a little indigestion, it could also pack on the pounds.

Picking up the pace

Eating FAST, is not good for the waist line

The trouble arises because there is a time delay between filling up and FEELING FULL.

When you’re FULL – appropriate signals buzz around your body, signalling it is time to put the fork down and STOP EATING.

If there is a delay in this message getting through, you’re more likely to experience an OVERFEED i.e. more calories in than you really need.

And more calories in, tends to mean more layers on your hips etc.

The eating race

Now – in my family, we tend to EAT FAST, real FAST.

This has been brought home to me on numerous occasions, especially when we’ve had guests over for dinner. Typically, the members of my family have cleared the plate, while our guests are just getting started on their dinner.

Most are blissfully unaware of what is going on, but they are conscious of the fact that they have somehow not performed well in the DINNER RACE.  The weren’t quite fitting in.

Unwanted guests

This research proves – dinner racing is common practice. And there is always a pace setter in the race. It is good to know who this is !

Probably in an ideal world, you should not invite LIGHTENING EATERS round for dinner. But, you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.

So…. just be aware.

You might want to forgo the FITTING IN at the dinner table, so that you can FIT IN to your pants.

Mimicry of Food Intake: The Dynamic Interplay between Eating Companions. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (2): e31027 Roel C. J. Hermans, Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff, Kirsten E. Bevelander, C. Peter Herman, Junilla K. Larsen, Rutger C. M. E. Engels. 
 

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Further reading

eating with facebook friends bite counter big aromas lead to smaller bites
Facebook is the new kitchen table Stop counting steps and start counting bites Smelly bites are smaller bites so chew on smelly food when on diet

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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